Though this is a very personal subject, I no longer feel it is a part of my life I need to, or should hide. I feel it is important to share my story, and by doing so, I hope others will feel less alone. With this feature, I hope to increase the visibility of depression and to reach out to others who are suffering.
I was ten years old the first time I remember feeling depressed. Ten years old. It was years before I accepted my depression, and even longer before I ever saw a therapist. For the nine years before I sought help, I just assumed I was a weak and worthless person.
Even after years of therapy, and occasional periods on anti-depressants, I still suffer from depression. Thankfully because of the therapy, I know what my triggers are and how to handle them. I am aware of everything I eat, how much I sleep, how much exercise I get, and even the roles I choose. All of these things factor into my mental health. A year ago I stopped consuming alcohol of any kind to try and reduce my risk of breast cancer (which runs in my family), and because of how quickly alcohol can trigger a depressive episode. I try my best to stay off of medications, so I have to make specific lifestyle choices to make that happen.
This winter was particularly hard (thanks, Seattle weather). But now that I am at a place in my life where I can confidently own my mental illness, I thought, “Why not express this artistically?” I emailed my friend Dawndra to see if she would be interested in helping me, and she agreed right away.
We wanted to capture the feelings of despair, aloneness, and sadness that come with depression. Here are some of her breathtaking shots:
If you or someone you know is battling a mental illness, there is hope, and do not hesitate to reach out for help. Here are some great resources:
You can also call your insurance provider to find therapists in your area that accept your coverage.
Most importantly, know that you are not alone: one in four adult Americans suffer from a mental illness. Together we can find the lighthouse through the storm
All my love,
PS. For a humorous, yet very accurate, interpretation of depression, please read this post by Hyperbole and Half.
And please feel free to leave a comment or your reaction to the photos.